The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to increase your creativity.

Mostly the Bad and the Ugly This Week

But that’s okay!

Yes, I made a lot of drawings this week that I don’t much like the look of.

Frankly, they’re pretty bad.

And a few involved, well, a lot of energy out of me before realizing they probably wouldn’t work the way I had envisioned.

Twenty minutes turned into several hours when I realized oooh, things are looking baaaadddd here.

I should have probably done things in a different order to (maybe) have gotten the result I was looking for.

Ah well. By the time I realized this I was too tired–and not sure what I wanted.

Since then I’ve just been walking by these drawings, thinking about why they don’t work, what I want them to be, what I don’t know about drawing them, etc.

I could start over, with the same premise but a different tactic, or I could just hang in there and continue working on them, maybe transforming “the bad and the ugly” into something I like, something that “works.” The “good.” Maybe.

Or I could just forget it and move on.

So I’m thinking about all that. Will I? Won’t I? Which one will I?

No guarantees and the jury’s still out.

But still, regardless of what I decide, I know it wasn’t wasted time.

Because making these bad drawings will either help me later when I try anew–a little wiser, a few weeks older–or bring me somewhere unexpected, if I decide to keep solving the design problem and manage to transform them.

You know, making bad stuff is actually efficient and important, because you’re getting it out of the way.

Each bad thing you make brings you that much closer to your good stuff–20 Minutes at a time.

It almost makes it exciting to make crappy stuff!


Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

Here’s my five self-appreciations for this week:

1. I appreciate that I’m genuinely okay with the bad stuff I made this week–and that I let it stay up on my walls for all the world to see.

2. I appreciate how I hung in there in this insane heatwave with NO air conditioning, especially when it was 100 degrees in our upstairs apartment.

3. I appreciate how much I appreciate our bed, after sleeping on an air mattress in the studio all week (which is 10 degrees cooler.) It’s the simple things.

4. I appreciate that I got all my info onto the blog about my new Creative Breakthroughs Collage Teleclass–yay! It was a big push to get it done, but I did it.

5. I appreciate that I’m starting to work on a new video for a new kit this week, even though I find making the videos kind of an exhausting prospect. I also appreciate that I’m considering letting go of some of my perfectionism so that it’s easier to do.

Your Turn

I’d genuinely love to know what you worked on this week. Did you feel creative? Did you try the 20 Minute technique? Are you on vacation–collecting seashells and hanging out with family? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!

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Categories : 20 Minute Club


  1. Sherry says:

    Hi Sarah,
    You have the most inspirational philosophy-I like your appreciations, too. We so need to practice self-appreciation. I hope to be sending some friends your way with my post today. Stop on by! Have a great weekend, now that it is cooling slightly!

  2. R.M. Koske says:

    “You know, making bad stuff is actually efficient and important, because you’re getting it out of the way.”

    I keep running across this sentiment stated different ways and I’m trying to absorb it as part of reducing my perfectionism. This is one of the better phrasings I’ve seen. *copies it into notebook*

    I haven’t done a twenty-minute session in a while. My mind has been strongly on making routines and creating and restoring order to my life in general, so I haven’t been focused much on creativity. The disorder seems to be stifling my creativity, so creating order feels like a necessary path to creative work. Work on routines doesn’t ping my inner perfectionist, so I’m easily comfortable with working on it and don’t feel like I need a timer to get me started.

    I *did* do something obviously creative this week, though. Last weekend I was feeling a strong urgency to be creative. I dug through my projects and plans to find something I could do in the midst of the disorder and found a pieced checkbook cover I had started. The materials were really inspiring to me when I started it, and still were when I pulled them out again, so I spent most of July 5th sewing, resting, and sewing some more.

    I am very pleased with the finished object – it fulfills the promise I saw in the materials – but I kind of wish I’d done it as a series of smaller sessions instead of the all-day session it turned out to be. Doing it all in one day reinforced my incorrect notion that I can’t be creative in a short period of time. At the end of the day I felt like a dieter who’d stayed away from chocolate too strictly and then ate a whole cake in one go. It was good, but it really wasn’t as pleasant or conducive to continuing progress as little bites would have been.

    I would say “I’ll see if I can fit in a 20 minute creative session this week” but I don’t really believe I will, and lying to myself about my intentions to improve is also counter-productive. I will, however, keep all this in mind for the future.

    I’m not feeling as negative about all this as I might sound – things are definitely improving – it was just a “what not to do” week. In a way, I made bad stuff. *grin*

  3. [...] In my first 20 minute action of the week, I tackled one of my very bad drawings from last week. [...]

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